Before most of your assessment deadlines start to hit, we wanted to raise awareness of contract cheating and what you can do about it. Contract cheating is the practice of engaging someone else to write any – or all – of a piece of assessed work for you (including online exams).
Essay mills are companies who supply written work (such as essays, lab reports etc.) to students for payment. Essay mills may contact you directly by email, or in a chat box when you’re searching the web looking for resources. Some are quite explicit that they are selling bogus assignments, others pretend to being offering “study support” or “academic writing services”. Essay mills are illegal, and a student who passes another’s work off as their own is contract cheating – a type of fraud that is highly unethical and can carry severe penalties. It is a form of academic malpractice, and also exposes you to scams and financial risk.
What you can do about it:
- If you receive an email from someone offering to sell or share written work, forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Student Conduct and Discipline Team will take action, in collaboration with IT Services and possibly with our Legal Services team, to get the sender blocked
- If you search for study support online and come across a website that offers “study resources”, “writing services” or “sample essays” – take a step back and think whether it seems fair and ethical. Check out the My Learning Essentials webpages for guidance or use the University Library’s online chat facility, Library chat if you’re unsure. If you think it’s encouraging students to cheat, report the website using the same email@example.com address and we will block them from our on-campus machines.
- In WhatsApp, if a bot pops into your WhatsApp study group, highlight the message by keeping your finger on it, then press the dots at the top right of the screen and hit “Report”.
This article written by a current student at Manchester explains more… Contract cheating’ – what it is and how to avoid it.